July 18, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame fencing program will once again be well-represented on the world stage this week as five current or former Irish fencers and one coach will compete for Team USA, while two more will fence for Poland at the FIE Senior World Championships, set for July 19-26 in Leipzig, Germany.
Lee Kiefer (`17, women's foil), Sabrina Massialas (junior, women's foil), Kelley Hurley (`10, women's epee), Courtney Hurley (`13, women's epee) and Gerek Meinhardt (`13, `15 MBA, men's foil) will suit up for the United States when action commences Wednesday, with each already having achieved significant international success. The five Irish fencers make up the most of any school on the 24-person squad.
Additionally, Notre Dame assistant coach for foil Buckie Leach will lead the American women's foil squad, while women's epeeist Ewa Nelip (`13) and men's epeeist Karol Kostka ('09) will compete for Poland.
Kiefer, who is currently the World No. 2 in women's foil, returns to the strip after capturing her record eighth individual gold medal at the Pan American Championships in June. Earlier this year, she became the first American woman to earn a World No. 1 ranking after claiming two Grand Prix gold medals (Torino, Long Beach).
Massialas returns to the senior team after claiming a Junior World Championship in 2016. She competed at Senior Worlds in 2015 and earned a runner-up finish behind Kiefer at the Pan American Championships last month. The San Francisco product is a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Champion and All-American.
Kelley Hurley currently owns the No. 16 world ranking in women's epee and will join sister Courtney at their 10th consecutive World Championships together. The pair helped the women's epee squad to a bronze medal in Rio last summer.
Meinhardt was also an Olympic team bronze medalist in Rio. He is currently the World No. 12 in men's foil and will join Olympic teammates Alexander Massialas, Race Imboden and Miles Chamley-Watson. Meinhardt is a two-time Senior World medalist and owns the distinction of becoming the first American man to earn a Senior World Championship medal (bronze in 2010), as well as the first to win a second (bronze in 2015). The San Francisco native served as a volunteer coach on the Notre Dame staff last season.
Nelip was a four-time All-American at Notre Dame, including two first-team nods in 2008 and 2009 when she placed third at the NCAA Championships. This season, she snared bronze at an FIE World Cup event in Brazil. Kostka was a four-time NCAA qualifier and three-time All-American for the Irish.
The 2017 FIE Senior World Championships will be covered on the newly launched Olympic Channel with recaps each evening. Check your local listings for coverage.
FIE Senior World Championships
July 19-26, 2017
Wednesday, July 19
Women's Individual Foil Prelims
Men's Individual Saber Prelims
Men's Individual Epee Prelims
Thursday, July 20
Women's Individual Saber Prelims
Women's Individual Epee Prelims
Men's Individual Foil Prelims
Friday, July 21
Women's Individual Foil T64 - Finals
Men's Individual Saber T64 - Finals
Saturday, July 22
Women's Individual Saber T64 - Finals
Men's Individual Epee T64 - Finals
Sunday, July 23
Women's Individual Epee T64 - Finals
Men's Individual Foil T64 - Finals
Monday, July 24
Women's Team Foil T32 - Finals
Men's Team Saber T32 - Finals
Tuesday, July 25
Women's Team Saber T32 - Finals
Men's Team Epee T32 - Finals
Wednesday, July 26
Men's Team Foil T32 - Finals
Women's Team Epee T32 - Finals
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master's degree from Georgetown University in 2013.